Friday, 13 May 2016

13th May 1816: Thomas Hall reports a recent case of arson to the Home Secretary & offers a reward

Saffron Walden 13th May 1816

My Lord

On Saturday the 4th Instant [between] the Hours of 11 & 12 at night a fire broke out in a barn belonging to Mr Thomas Nottage at Henham in this (Walden) division which raging with great fury shortly consumed all the Buildings & communicated to the dwelling House, at a Loss exceeding £1200. From the Situation of the Barn & the place where it broke out there can be no doubt but that it was set on fire:

An investigation has taken place before the magistrates & some Circumstances have been laid before them from which there is strong Reason to suspect that a Person now in Custody is the Offender & there being also some Reason to suppose that there are persons who are implicated & can give Evidence which may lead to conviction it has been considered desirable to obtain his Majesty's Pardon in the usual Manner for which purpose I have been directed to apply to your Lordship requesting the favor of your Sanction that an advertizement and Handbills of the nature of the inclosed may be published.

As it seems advisable to have them issued as soon as possible it will be esteemed a very particular favor if your Lordship will be pleased to give the Subject your Attention as early as you conveniently can

I have [etc]
Tho. Hall
Clerk to the magistrates of the
Walden Division

Hall enclosed the draft of a reward notice, which read:

Two Hundred Pounds Reward

Whereas on Saturday the 4th Instant between the Hours of 11 & 12 at Night a fire broke out in a barn belonging to Mr. Thomas Nottage of Henham in the County of Essex which raging with great Fury shortly consumed all the Outhouses are communicated to the Dwelling House and the same having been wilfully and maliciously set on fire by some Person or Persons unknown. In order for the better Discovery of the Offender or Offenders His Majesty has been most graciously pleased to Promise his Pardon to any person (except the Person who actually set the Premises on fire) who shall discover the Offender or Offenders so that he or they may be convicted.

And for further Encouragement if any Person (except as above) will give such Information as aforesaid he shall on Conviction of the Offender or Offenders receive a Reward of two hundred Pounds

This will be signed by the Proprietor or the agent of the Norwich Union Fire Office

13th May 1816.

This is from HO 42/150.

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